The Path to Redemption
The Kite Runner, a novel written by Khaled Hosseini tells the story of a boy, Amir, growing up in Afghanistan, living day by day with his best friend, Hassan. In Afghanistan, there are two diverse groups, the Hazaras and the Pashtuns. The Hazaras are a group of Muslims that are looked down upon in Afghanistan and are known to be the lower class, while the Pashtuns are higher in status. Amir, a Pashtun, is often mocked for having a Hazara best friend, and is frequently picked on by older boys. However, this never fazes him until one day he witnesses Hassan being raped by one of the older boys. Although Amir sees this happening, he is too afraid to step in and protect Hassan; despite all the other times Hassan has been able to defend him. This is seen as the turning point in the novel, because this forever changes the relationship he once had with Hassan due to his unending guilt for not defending his best friend. Following this incident, Amir never wanted to forgive himself for not protecting Hassan, until many years later when he received a phone call from an old acquaintance. Answering that phone call pushed Amir to seek redemption for his past actions and leave his current home of San Francisco to return to Afghanistan and make matters right. In The Kite Runner Housseini uses psychological conflict to demonstrate the importance of redemption and to indicate that it is important for one to achieve redemption in order to reach an inner peace.
In order for Amir to reach redemption he must physically fight Assef, which he failed to do so in the past, thus alleviating his guilt. When Amir returns to Pakistan for the first time in over twenty years, it is a vast shock because of the newly formed country based off of Taliban beliefs. While visiting and conversing with Rahim Khan, Amir finds out that the Taliban has murdered Hassan and his wife, leaving their son, Sohrab as an orphan. Rahim Khan requests that Amir goes to rescue Sohrab from the Taliban and bring him to an orphanage, a seemingly simple task. However, as Amir finally arrives where Sohrab is living, he faces the Taliban leader, whom he knows from the past, Assef. Once Amir realizes that Assef is the leader, he knows it is not going to be easy to just take Sohrab and leave, he knows that he and Assef have unfinished business that needs to be resolved. Eventually Assef brings Sohrab out and Amir notices that Sohrab has been abused, just as Hassan had by the same person, which brings back the feelings of guilt for Amir. Just as Amir believes he is able to just take Sohrab, Assef states that they will fight for him. Every day, leading up to this battle, Amir has fought with himself psychologically; never forgiving himself for the day he walked away from not only his own fears, but his best friend. After that day, all Amir wanted was to be punished for what he did, any kind of punishment, but it was never received. There was a day he and Hassan were outside sitting by the pomegranate tree in their backyard when Amir persistently throws pomegranates at Hassan in hopes for an angry reaction. However, Hassan never submits to Amir and his antagonizing ways, he just stands there and takes the pomegranates being thrown at him, which only angers Amir more. In Amir’s thoughts he thinks “I wish he’d give me the punishment I craved, so maybe I’d finally sleep at night” (92). Amir states that he craves a punishment, which indicates that his guilt is overwhelming his mind, consequently leading to his psychological conflict within himself. When Hassan was raped and Amir did not step in to defend his “best friend,” Amir immediately felt overwhelmed with guilt which remained with him until his fight with Assef. During his fight with Assef, Amir finally admits to himself that he feels “healed.” As the fight continues, Amir thinks to himself “For the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace…I felt healed. Healed at last” (289). When Amir ran...
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